Kiwis are letting businesses get away with charging high prices - expert

  • 21/07/2022

New Zealand business has gone soft - the Opposition leader said it and one business writer agrees, but for very different reasons. 

Business journalist Rebecca Stevenson has written an op-ed saying New Zealand business is an unregulated mess, where the environment, animal rights and even workers' personal safety are ignored in pursuit of profits.

We feel it at the pump and in the shopping trolley every day - high prices. 

And it's not just our wallets that are suffering, many businesses in this country are left to essentially regulate themselves. 

Stevenson said we are letting businesses get away with way too much.

But deregulation doesn't just affect prices, WorkSafe data shows so far eight people have died and over 1200 people seriously injured working in New Zealand this year.

"It seems to continually happen over and over again. There's a multitude of examples where we're really being let down by our regulatory environment."

Stevenson said it can be traced back to the 1980s when the country went through massive deregulation and privatisation of our state assets, and from that point on legislation has had a "business friendly" slant.

"It comes back to that idea of regulators thinking more about what is going to benefit the industries that we are regulating as opposed to thinking how we can get good outcomes for the public with how we are regulating," Stevenson said. 

"It's enshrined in so much of our legislation and we need to unwind that."

She said businesses will always argue more regulation means more cost to pass onto the consumers, but added that this argument is redundant. 

"We need to buy back into New Zealand in the same way business sort of bought New Zealand over this time."

She said we, the public, need to be a counterbalance to businesses.

"We know that we pay very high prices for a lot of things in New Zealand and we've allowed that to happen because of the structure," Stevenson said. 

"We can unwind this, we can change the rules."

Watch Rebecca Stevenson's full interview above.